Faculté des sciences

Oriented responses of the triatomine bugs Rhodnius prolixus and Triatoma infestans to vertebrate odours on a servosphere

Taneja, J. ; Guerin, Patrick M.

In: Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology, 1995, vol. 176, no. 4, p. 455-464

Oriented responses of both R. prolixus and T. infestans adults were recorded on a servosphere to mouse-odour, one of its components (CO2), and to rabbit urine-odour. The volatiles were delivered in an air-stream under controlled conditions which excluded other sensory modalities. In stimulus-free air the triatomines walked preferentially downwind in straight bouts... Plus

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    Summary
    Oriented responses of both R. prolixus and T. infestans adults were recorded on a servosphere to mouse-odour, one of its components (CO2), and to rabbit urine-odour. The volatiles were delivered in an air-stream under controlled conditions which excluded other sensory modalities. In stimulus-free air the triatomines walked preferentially downwind in straight bouts interrupted by stops or periods at relatively low speeds, all of variable duration. In odour-laden air, bugs maintained their typical walking habit but switched from negative to positive anemotaxis. The characteristic response to odour onset was to stop, sample the air with the antennae, turn upwind in situ, and then walk off in the direction of the source for at least a few seconds, i.e., odour mediated anemotaxis. Mouse-odour caused T. infestans to increase its speed to 5.3 cms-1. Both species continued with the upwind response for some time after odour delivery ceased, but the crosswind component of the tracks was more prominent during this period — an effort, we presume, by the bugs to re-contact an odour plume. This investigation provides unequivocal evidence for host finding in triatomines by olfactory cues alone.